Six (6) Things Every New Consultant Should Know – My goal when I first started working as a communications consultant was to land six-month on-site contracts with large corporations that paid high hourly rates. When the contract expired, I would either extend it for another six months or leave. I was more concerned with securing consistent contract work than with construction.
For about five years, it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I became ill, had surgery, and was unable to work.
When hourly consultants fail to show up, they are not paid. I also didn’t show up for a few weeks. The good news is that companies continued to call to inquire if I was available. The bad news was that I couldn’t leave the house. It wasn’t a viable option. Working with executives to gather information and set up internal processes was one of my responsibilities. I didn’t have access to the clients’ systems from off-site.
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During my recovery, I made the decision to alter and improve my procedures. It was time to start a company.
The majority of people learn through trial and error. My journey was no different. It wasn’t easy to change careers after my surgery, even with extensive industry experience, a mentor, and excellent business contacts. But I needed to survive, and it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t unless you try new things.
To be a successful consultant, you must master a variety of skills. I’ve refined my process, and I believe these six factors contributed to the growth of my company.
1. Do you want to be a consultant or a freelancer?
Freelancing and consulting are two entrepreneurial paths that are very similar but very different. Prospects and clients may disagree, preferring short-term creative work and consultants for in-depth industry expertise, despite the fact that neither title is more prestigious than the other.
It’s common to use the titles interchangeably when describing who you are and what you do when you’re first starting out. You want to get new clients, so if they’re looking for a freelancer, you’re happy to be the one who gets the job. This could be a blunder.
Most businesses hire freelancers for projects that require creative abilities, and they are frequently referred to as “gig workers.” They pay for consultants to help them restructure their businesses or implement company policies and procedures.
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Although freelancers and consultants offer similar services and charge similar fees, it’s better for your brand to choose the right title to attract the right clients. You are the brand as a new consultant. It’s critical to keep that in mind at all times.
2. Set a price for your services
Pricing is more of a work of art than a science. Large consulting firms are aware of the value they provide to their clients and charge accordingly. You should do the same. To stay in business, you must understand how much it costs to operate. This necessitates an understanding of your company’s profit margins.
The majority of inexperienced business consultants are unaware of their profit margins and work for a low project or hourly rates. This strategy may bring in a client, but it isn’t going to keep you in business. Determine how much money you want to make each year. Create a formula for determining how much to charge based on how much you want to make. Concentrate on clients who are willing to pay for your services.
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You provide expert skills and advice as an expert. Charge for your expertise in the same way that large consulting firms do. Know how much you’re worth. You should be compensated for the problems you solve and the value you provide. The client expects to be reimbursed.
3. Knowing when to say no
Clients will not always agree with your conclusions and recommendations. They may even refuse to put them in place or suggest that you change them. This is a tricky situation that may or may not have anything to do with your job. Maybe it’s about someone who doesn’t want to change anything. When this occurs, you must determine why the client is resisting so that you can address the issue. You have two options if the client still refuses to move forward. Do as the client requests, or refuse and provide documentation to support your position.
You must have faith in yourself and the services you provide to say no. You were hired to make an immediate impact. Even if it means saying no, you should do it.
It’s preferable to provide the best solution than to be held responsible for a project’s failure. Nothing could be worse.
4. Pick a niche
When it comes to building your brand, picking a niche is crucial. It distinguishes your company and can assist you in deciding what services to offer. It will also make it easier for you to be recognized as a professional.
Before you begin consulting, give this some thought. It will assist you in marketing to the right prospects, conducting competitor research, and standing out from the crowd. You can always add more services later, but a successful business requires the right customers.
5. How do you promote your services?
Your services are critical to the success of your consultancy. To stay in business, marketing must be viewed as a long-term strategy. There is no such thing as a successful one-size-fits-all strategy. Different strategies should be tested and measured until you find the ones that work best for you.
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Create effective lead generation strategies that include a website and social media platforms that speak to your target audience. Maintain a straightforward approach. To set yourself apart from your competitors, you must first understand who you are, what you do, how to reach your target audience, and how to communicate with them.
6. Time management techniques
It’s easy to fall into the trap of working for clients all day instead of focusing on growing your business when you’re a busy consultant. Even if you’ve worked on a similar project before, each new one has its own set of clients and challenges.
At the start of each project, you’ll need to make a plan, set priorities, and create a schedule with deadlines. To keep track of your time, devise and implement productivity strategies. You’ll also require tools to ensure on-time delivery.